I fight hard, run hard, plan hard, strive, grasp, strain, feeding off the lie that “It’s up to me, after all” to execute this thing called Abbey’s life, to make life work.
Exhausted. That’s where the careening locomotion of my living deposits me- at the depot of Exhaustion. Here, at the leaky fountain I drink stale mouthfuls of disappointment. The oppressive air of loneliness is heavy. So much mass that it pierces past skin and assaults my soul. There are no other travelers at this station. I alone.
Because I failed, or forgot? to invite travelers along with me. I feel the lonely air weigh down body and soul. My fault, my own fault. Defeat is mine, this is what independent, self-reliant, practical atheists deserve. My portion, the dry taste in the mouth and the regretful ache in the heart.
Setting out on my bike last night. The Klings’ neighborhood; not my own. Unfamiliar. Brain racing as feet begin to pedal: “I must make this work. I must find a route. I must blaze a trail.” One hour before dusk and the task is defined. I am the train careening forward through the unknown. And the lonely ache rises, here, at the beginning of the Journey, disappointment enters.
Grace! The disappointment is His gift of grace to me in this moment. The rising loneliness whispers that life might be different. He intervenes. “You are forgetting Me, Abbey.” Yes! Lucidity. A moment of sanity cracks across my night soul more powerful than a thunderbolt across wilderness sky. I was forgetting Him. Forgetting my God. Forging forward alone into “great matters, things too difficult for me” (Psalm 131). A bike ride in Sacramento’s suburbia alone at dusk.
I respond. Penitent Lucy, saddened eyes ashamed to look full in Aslan’s face. “Jesus, yes, I was forgetting You. The rising empty ache tells me so. Thank You for that. Come with me, Jesus. Ride with me alone tonight. Show me the way. Let’s do this. Together.”
Acknowledgement of sin, of my practical atheism, destroys the bulwark Pride erected between my God and I. There is no barrier now. Together we ride. He shares with me a dirt trail, children relishing in cool evening air at the park, a smooth road, a hill to climb, then one to coast and climb again, sweat and breath, sight and movement. Quarter moon rises over silhouetted treetops, spindly pines and taller palm trees. Silvery wonder illuminates night’s blue black heavens. We share this, on this ride I take with Jesus. The one I am too small to take alone.